VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has made hundreds of new saints at his first canonization ceremony in St. Peter’s Square. Here is a look at the people receiving the Church’s highest honor:
ANTONIO PEZZULLA AND 812 FELLOW MARTYRS
In 1480, some 20,000 Turkish troops overran the citadel of Otranto in what is now the southeastern Puglia region of Italy, in the “heel” of the boot-shaped peninsula. The invaders demanded that the locals, including many who took refuge in the city’s cathedral, convert to Islam. The Turks took 813 men from among those refusing to convert..
Pezzulla, also known as Primaldo, was the group’s leader, and the first among the martyrs to be beheaded. They are referred to as `’The martyrs of Otranto.”
LAURA OF ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA MONTOYA Y UPEGUI
Colombia’s first saint, also known as Mother Laura Montoya and born in 1874, worked as a teacher and spiritual mother to Colombia’s indigenous peoples.
In 1914, she and five other women set out on horseback into forests for their mission. They made up the core of a new religious order, the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Virgin, who today work in 21 nations. She died in 1949.
MARIA GUADALUPE GARCIA ZAVALA
Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala was a Mexican woman, born in 1878, who decided at 22 to dedicate herself to helping the sick. Her religious mission played out during a period of tension between church and state, when tens of thousands of people were killed during a 1926-1929 uprising by Roman Catholic rebels against anti-clerical laws.
She helped Catholics avoid persecution during a government crackdown on the faith, including hiding the archbishop of Guadalajara in an eye clinic for 1 1/2 years after fearful local Catholic families refused to shelter him.
Also known as Mother Lupita, she co-founded an order of nuns, the Congregation of the Servants of St. Margaret Maria and of the Poor. She died in 1963.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.